Apple’s IOS 8 Maps application will receive a major upgrade in an effort to provide customers with an improved mapping experience that would put it on par with Google’s Maps application for mobile phones. Apple took over the stock Maps application when iOS 6 was introduced and has been one of their rare missteps. The Maps UI was beautiful, with stunning 3D Flyover views, but suffered from flawed data and the lack of public transit maps. Sources tell Mark Gurman that a new upgraded Maps will look to solve those issues, with the aim of bring an updated Maps app in iOS 8 that lives up to Apple’s high standards.
When Apple released their version of Maps in iOS 6, it became evident rather quickly that the data was extremely flawed. Customers who ‘upgraded’ to iOS 6 were now using an application that was no on par with the previous app. It caused a great deal of negative criticism, along with those who had fun at Apple’s expense. Things got so bad that Tim Cook issued an open letter, which explained what went wrong and their plans for improvement. At the time, Cook went as far as to recommend a list of third party apps. As we stated in 2012, this was not an easy fix. If Apple releases iOS 8 in September, that would be two years from the release of iOS 6.
The iOS 6 Maps fiasco claimed longtime Apple employee Scott Forstall, who reportedly declined to apologize for the poor transition and was subsquently relieved of his duties in late 2012. Patrice Gautier, now leading up the Maps team, is working with Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi righting the ship. Despite an iOS 7 makeover this past September, we’ve yet to see massive changes to the funtional aspects of Maps. iOS 8 will look to combine form and function. The biggest change will be the data sourcing, bringing reliable data, some of which was a result of recent Apple aquisitions that include BroadMap, Embark and HopStop.
iOS 8 Maps will also usher in support for public transit directions. Apple will be able to provide directions that include trains, subways, buses and other forms of public transportation. For those who live in metro areas, the addition of public transit is vital to the functionality of maps, which up until now has required the hand-off to third party applications. The new ‘Transit’ option will be included with Drive, Walk and Apps – which are available currently. Reports indicate that when a user selects transit, a translucent panel will provide an array of routing options, with icons representing the form of public transportation. There will also be options for time of departure, allowing users to find transportation immediately or starting at a specific time.
Improved data and public transportation are planned for iOS 8 Maps, due out in 2014. Apple is alledgedly working on improving indoor mapping and enhanced car integration, something we’d like to see in a future version of iOS.